January-February 2012

Three Forks of Cheat

An Old-Time Fiddle Lesson

By David Bragger

Burl_HammonsI love Edden Hammons. But I love Burl too! I’ve decided to close out a very eventful year with a Burl Hammons fiddle tune. Three Forks of Cheat is played out of Black Mountain tuning, aka Calico tuning, which from low to high is tuned AEAC#. I’ve detuned the fiddle for this lesson to GDGB. Like many of my favorite Hammons Family tunes, it has a beautifully eccentric melody that sounds wonderful played as a solo fiddle piece, a banjo/fiddle duet, or an old-time jam ensemble! It takes on new character with every tempo and makes delightful use out of the drone strings, especially the occasional high string drone. Let’s fiddle in the New Year with a tune by one of the greatest old-time dynasties ever!

Fiddle Lesson: Three Forks of Cheat 1 of 2
Fiddle Lesson: Three Forks of Cheat 2 of 2

David Bragger is a Los Angeles-based instructor and player of old time fiddle and banjo music. He also photographs, films, and collects the lore of traditional artists, from puppeteers in Myanmar to fiddlers of Appalachia www.myspace.com/davidbragger


All Columns by David Bragger